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Poker professionals speak about the most demanded features that modern players are looking for into the gaming software: social features, security, and more.
Poker is a game that takes just a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. Many players fall in love with the game right after learning the rules. The elements of risk and psychology involved in poker make the game a fascinating pursuit that can last for years or decades for some players.
What about the technical side of the game then? Ever since online poker was born, operators have been striving to provide their players with a great playing experience. We’ve seen quite a development in the last two decades on how to engage players more effectively. Online poker is constantly evolving with new game variants and formats being introduced. For example, bounty hunter tournaments and re-entries have taken the poker world by storm by simply offering recreational players much more fun than traditional freezeout tourneys.
Yet, online poker is still a fresh industry with just over two decades of history. Games played over the internet are defining the lifestyles of younger generations much more than before. This is true especially in the case of eSports. The question is, how online poker could appeal more to the masses and new potential players? We asked industry veterans at Beastsofpoker.com what kind of features they see as most important for a great online poker experience. They also shared their view on what kind of industry trends they expect for the next few years. Let’s see what they had to say about this topic:
Improving in-game social features
Although great progress has been made in this area during the last few years, we see online poker becoming even more interactive. Plenty of poker operators have already started to implement interactive features to make the game more like live poker. Features like throwing items and peeking the river card will become more common. We might see even more creative ways to enable interaction at the online poker felts.
At its core, poker is a social game that should be treated as such. The more engaging the player experience is, the higher the chances of a new player to start playing regularly are.
‘‘Reads are an important aspect of poker for many players who have a disadvantage in game theory. Besides making the game more fun, interaction emphasizes the role of people reading skills, which amateur players believe to be great at themselves.’’
Improved security for players
Security features like utilizing webcams for verifying players have received additional support from players lately. The main reason for this is that cases of using Real-Time Assistance software or multiple accounts cannot be fully prevented without sophisticated surveillance features.
Another potential application for increased security in poker is AI. Poker operators will likely explore it more in the next few years for added security. By utilizing AI in pattern recognition, poker sites can detect unusual timings for actions, playing habits, and strategies that humans cannot execute at the tables. Picking up any anomalies in this regard is not that hard for an AI – once this type of case is captured, the security team can dig deeper to verify it.
‘‘One of the most important areas of online poker is game security. The main priority for every poker site should be creating a safe environment to play. Issues like colluding and ghosting have always been big concerns in this business – improvements in preventing and detecting them would greatly benefit both poker operators and their players.’’
Evolvement into an interactive, spectator sport
Televised cash games and tournaments played a crucial role in making poker popular for brands like Full Tilt Poker, Pacific Poker, and PokerStars. However, for newer brands like GGPoker, this type of prime time advertising wasn’t needed to enable massive growth. Poker has seen a myriad of ambassadors starting their own YouTube and Twitch streaming channels, catering to the needs of both recreational and professional players alike. Any player can stream their tournaments and poker is no longer dependant on ‘poker celebrities’.
Along with this change, the audience wants to participate in more ways than watching and chatting during the stream. Besides Twitch giveaways, we could see different types of competitions for viewers. For example, you could get rewards for guessing how many all-ins a streamer will win in the next hour, what their opponent will have at the showdown in a big pot, or how much he will win before the next break. This way any spectator could feel like they’re playing alongside their favorite streamer.
‘’Platforms like Twitch are excellent for hosting entertaining shows in any game. Besides interacting with the audience, poker streamers can host challenges, giveaways, and polls to give a lot of value to their followers. It seems that poker folks are hungry for real-time video content starring elite players. Now we’re finally seeing the poker industry taking full advantage of streaming platforms in this regard!’’
Las Vegas poker experience with virtual reality
Mobile poker apps have greatly increased the convenience aspect of poker. You can play on your way to work, at the airport, or whenever you have a few minutes to spare. Yet, matching the experience and glamor offered by a real casino experience cannot be done with just an app. This is where VR technology comes into play.
VR offers tremendous possibilities for online poker. You have no restrictions on what kind of locations you could play a game at with your friends. Very few players have the chance to travel to Las Vegas and experience the never-ending live poker action there. With VR, you can mimic this experience from the comfort of your home.
You don’t need to suit up physically either when utilizing VR in poker. Players can make individual tweaks to their characters and outfits every time they sit down to play. Social interactions at the table can be taken to a whole new level with VR. To sum it up, VR poker can create the most prestigious poker location anyone can wish for.
When are these to come? Developer’s perspective
EvenBet Gaming has been creating online poker software for more than 15 years, following the whole vertical evolution from simple Flash-based Texas Hold’em rooms to modern platform with dozens of games and sophisticated features on board.
“Some of the demanded UX options mentioned by Beasts of Poker team are already becoming an everyday reality. Last year, we could see online casino games streaming growing, with limited audience yet, but we have no doubt that it is a perspective channel for interaction with new young audiences around the world. The possibilities of interaction within a game are also becoming more variable: for a long time, we’ve had only chats with emoji, now we have added fun quick reactions and are working on the video user avatars. The use of AI not just for marketing, but for added security is more and more demanded by the operators. The only thing that seems quite ahead of today is a complex virtual reality in a game since that requires a lot both from developers and users – at least, VR headsets and perfect connection. Yet, it is not impossible if we’re looking at 5-10 years’ perspective.”